Federal Judge Tosses Out Controversial Texas Voter ID Law

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who has compared Texas' voter ID requirements to a "poll tax" on minorities, ruled that the law was a deliberate attempt to discriminate against Black and Hispanic voters.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott made changes to the law earlier this summer after it was previously struck down, but Ramos ruled that the revised version still contains the discriminatory features of the original bill.
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Abbott's bill was backed by the United States Justice Department under Trump. During the Obama administration, the department joined Democrats and minority rights groups in a lawsuit over the voter ID laws. By February, however, it had abandoned its stance that Texas had written voter ID roles for the purpose of discrimination. Trump has established a commission to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 elections, despite the fact that there's no evidence to support this claim.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
The voter ID law was first passed by a GOP-controlled legislature in 2011, along with voting maps that were also struck down due to their discriminatory features.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called today's ruling "outrageous" and called on an appeals court to void the decision.
"The U.S. Department of Justice is satisfied that the amended voter ID law has no discriminatory purpose or effect," Paxton said in a statement. "Safeguarding the integrity of elections in Texas is essential to preserving our democracy." .
In May, the United State Supreme Court struck down efforts by North Carolina to bring back a law that mandated voter identification. With the GOP promising to fight Ramos' ruling, Texas' voter ID law could end up with the Supreme Court as well.
In early August, a separate federal court found racial gerrymandering in the state's congressional maps and ruled that voting districts must be partially redrawn before the 2018 midterm elections.
"From discriminatory gerrymandering to discriminatory voter ID laws, it has become entirely clear that Texas Republicans are rigging our election system," said Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party.
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